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Who Were They and What Did They Do?

I’ve stated previously on this blog that Australian Church Women (ACW) began on 11 February 1965 after functioning as an Interim Committee for two years. So, what did the newly formed National Committee and other participants do at their first meeting?

Looking back at their agenda in the working documents for this meeting, it was quite an intense programme over their 1½ days stay at Deaconess House in Sydney. There were several issues to be finalised to set the new National Committee off on a firm footing, particularly the constitution and proposed ACW programme.

The items they studied and discussed were:

  • Review of the Interim Committee's work

  • State and Territory reports

  • Other reports

  • Australian Church Women Constitution

  • Producing study material

  • Proposed programme of ACW

  • Projects: Fellowship of the Least Coin and Winifred Kiek Scholarship

  • Survey on the Service and Status of Women in the Churches

  • Committee on the Co-operation of Men and Women in the Church, Family and Society

  • Appointments and elections

  • Recommendations to the Annual Meeting of the Australian Council of Churches (ACC), which followed the ACW meeting

  • And worship, prayer, Bible study and devotions.

Here is a list of the participants of that first National Committee meeting:


New South Wales

Mrs. H. J. Lilley, Methodist

Colonel H. Cross, The Salvation Army


Mrs. A.G. Ashton, Congregationalist


Mrs. H. Stephens, Church of EngIand

Mrs. T.G.S. Grieve, Baptist

South Australia

Mrs. E.A. Pitman, Methodist

Mrs. H. Wells, Congregationalist

Western Australia

Mrs. N. Wilkinson, Society of Friends

Mrs. L. Staton, Presbyterian


Mrs. C.A. Wood, Presbyterian


Mrs. E. Ogston, Church of England

Mrs. C. Stirling, Churches of Christ


Mrs. C.F. Gribble, Methodist

Mrs. J.F. Dey, Congregationalist

Mrs. Colonel H.W. Saunders, The Salvation Amy

Mrs. A. Dougan, Presbyterian

Head Deaconess M. Andrews, Church of England

Mrs. D. Strack, Churches of Christ

Mrs. Doratis, Greek Orthodox

Mrs. A. Mageros, Greek Orthodox


Mrs. T.C. Rentoul, Y.W.C.A.


ACC Committee on the Co-operation of Men and Women in Church, Family and Society –

Mrs. T.H. Coates, Methodist

Mrs. J.D. McCaughey, Presbyterian

A.C.C. Executive Committee:

Mr. V.K. Brown, Church of England

Mrs. D.J.A. Verco, Churches of Christ

Mrs. M.G. Wyllie, Methodist

Interim Committee

Mrs. S.M. ßarrett, Methodist

A.C.C. Staff – consultants

Rev. H.L. Perkins

Rev. J.R. Neal

Miss T.J. Skiller

Sadly, the ACW National Archives do not contain any photos from this first National Committee meeting. Does anyone know of any photos from that first meeting? Perhaps one might be lurking in a State Unit Archive, or a family photo album, or church records. Please put on your deer stalker caps and release the bloodhounds. You might even discover other ACW treasures in the hunt; wouldn't that be wonderful.

Please email me if you have any success in tracking down memorabilia from the early ACW conferences


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This Herstory Blog of Australian Church Women Inc. tells the stories of the women and activities of this national Christian organisation that was founded in February 1965.

Stories that inspired and encouraged me to begin this blog and share their inspiration with you. Stories that need to be told so that the women of ACW can be honoured and celebrated for their achievements and experiences in local, national and international communities of faith. And, most importantly, stories that demonstrate being disciples of Jesus Christ firmly underpins all that Australian Church Women represents.

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